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Thread: How do I copy a miniDV tape to another miniDV tape?

  1. #1

    Member Since
    Aug 28, 2008
    How do I copy a miniDV tape to another miniDV tape?
    My cousin owns a Mac (I have a PC). He and I both made digital videos of a family reunion on miniDV tapes. I want to make one movie from clips from both our tapes. He lives hundreds of miles from me and does not want to mail me his original tape.

    I've searched the Internet for hours and have read all kinds of ways to export a movie back to tape, but I do not want a compressed movie file.

    Can someone please tell me if it's possible to transfer the raw footage/file/data (whatever is on the tape) from the camcorder into the Mac computer and then put a new, blank tape in the camcorder and transfer the raw footage/file/data from the computer back to the camcorder and onto that new tape? Then he could keep his original tape and mail me the copied tape which I could use to capture into my PC and make the movie.

    If this can be done, please tell us how to do it--what software is needed, firewire, etc? BTW he will not want to buy any software--I hope his Mac came with software that can do it.

    The camcorder and tape don't know the difference between a Mac and a PC, right? I'm hoping I can use the resulting output on my PC (and Windows software--sorry to have to mention it, but want to be clear that's all I have to work with.) Thanks so much for helping us do this.

  2. #2

    Member Since
    Oct 29, 2007
    You didn't mention what camcorder you and your cousin are using, but here are 3 ways to do it:

    1. First, your cousin with the Mac must have some type of software, iMovie HD 6.0.4 would work. "Push the function button and in the Rec Pause menu change the setting from Cancel to Execute. Then turn the camera off and then back on. After this, I was able to export the movie to my camera without a problem. The camera tends to default back to the Cancel setting, so I have to do this each time I want to export a movie." These instructions are for the Canon HV20 and HV30 by a **** J.

    2. Buy a large GB USB portable harddrive, save the video to it and then have it mailed to you. You might want to do research on the format he would have to save it in, in order for you to open it on your PC.

    3. Have him check a local photo/video studio, some offer video transfering services.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3

    Member Since
    Aug 28, 2008
    Thanks for your reply, CafeRacer. I don't know what kind of camera he has. I've thought of another solution that might work--if you Mac users could tell me what to tell him to do. He's been trying to burn DVDs of the captured files, but instead of going to DVD he's filling up his hard drive. I can't tell from his email whether he's trying to burn the "raw" files or some kind of compressed files.

    If I could get him to recapture, stopping and starting the capture in 20 min. segments, each segment would be saved as a file that would fit on a DVD. An hour of video would only be 3 DVDs. What is the Mac procedure for saving these files to his hard disk as "raw" files (unedited by iMovie), so he could burn each file to a DVD as a data file, not a compressed movie file?

    Does iMovie have a way of exporting the "raw" files to DVD? (The Adobe Premiere for Windows that I have can't, but I can use any data burning software to burn them as data files.)

  4. #4

    Member Since
    Oct 29, 2007
    From what I have been reading, it seems the Mac will compress the file anyway, unless he has Final Cut or other editing software, iMovie & iMovie HD are limited. I know when I wanted to burn about 5-7 minutes of a video I captured in HD with my Canon HV20, iMovie HD imported my footage in HD and it took a couple of GB of diskspace, then I ran Magic iMovie to prepare the footage to go on a DVD, it took about 27 minutes to compress. So I don't think this will work for you if you want the raw footage. I just thought of this option, there is this video hosting website, similiar to youtube, however you are able to import in HD directly from iMovie08. Go to, have your cousin create an account, import segements that you can download to your computer afterwards. There is a limit of footage he can import, but the great thing about this website, that it gives you 500MB of space to import video every week, so you can have your video in a couple of weeks. Just make sure the "Allow to download video...." is turned on. Hope this works for you. Now check out my first video I posted, I am still learning:

  5. #5

    Member Since
    Aug 28, 2008
    Cafe Racer, thanks for your info--and I enjoyed your exciting video; I hope the parachute jump was planned!
    Since I want the raw footage, I don't know if the movie upload will work for me. About the DVDs, I think if he can just use iMovie to capture from the tape to his computer in 20 minute segments, each 20 min. file will fit on a DVD--though it will take 3 DVDs if he has an hour of video. Then instead of using iMovie to burn to DVD which would compress the files, he could use any DVD burning software to burn the raw files as data files.

  6. #6

    mrplow's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 01, 2007
    I'm not sure about iMovie but iMovie 6 HD (a free download for iMovie owners) can capture and export in 'raw' DV format so he could send it back to the camera without quality loss.

    If you want to write the raw dv file to DVD just split the file as several 4.5gb zip files you can re-assemble them in winzip etc

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  7. #7

    xstep's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 25, 2005
    On the road
    Ask your cousin what version of the OS he has, and what version of iMovie does he have, and tell us. Oh, and how much disk space does he have available?

    iMovie 08 and the older version of iMovie (HD) both import DV from miniDV cameras in their native format. No conversion is done.

    iMovie 08 does not have an export to camera function, so he would need an older version. If he has iMoive 08, he can download the older version for free if he doesn't have it. He would then use the Share to Camera option. He might have to drag his content to the timeline first.

    The files created during import end in .dv. I think you can find a Windows program to convert this a an AVI file with no loss. The content is simply embedded in a container file if I understand this right.
    CameraTime - Time lapse photography for novice and advanced users.

    When asking questions, post the version of your software. You'll receive better answers.

    Please post your results to the thread as it is good feedback.

  8. #8

    Member Since
    Aug 28, 2008
    mrplow and xstep,
    Thank you very much for your help. His Mac is only a year old, so he'll probably have to download the older version with the Share to Camera option. I'm so glad to learn that this can be done with the raw (.dv) file. Thank you, thank you!

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